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Jan. 24, 2020, 10:24 p.m. EST

Democratic House managers on the need to remove Trump in impeachment trial: ‘You cannot leave a man like that in office’

Adam Schiff: ‘Give America a fair trial. She’s worth it.’

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By Associated Press

Associated Press
House impeachment lead manager Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, speaks during the trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate on Friday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that the president will persist in abusing his power and endangering American democracy unless Congress intervenes to remove him before the 2020 election.

“He is who he is,” declared Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the lead House impeachment manager. He told the senators listening as jurors that Trump put the U.S.-Ukraine relationship on the line in a way that benefited Russia just so he could take a political “cheap shot” at Democratic foe Joe Biden.

“You cannot leave a man like that in office,” Schiff said. “You know it’s not going to stop. ... It’s not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it.”

The Democratic prosecutors ended their presentation just before 9 p.m. Eastern time, with Schiff in the well of the Senate making one final plea to senators to ensure witnesses are called to testify.

“Give America a fair trial,” Schiff said. “She’s worth it.”

Trump is being tried in the Senate after the House impeached him last month, accusing him of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of Biden and other matters while withholding military aid from a U.S. ally that was at war with Russia. A second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House ensuing probe.

As Democrats finished their third day, attempting to sway skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected to get under way on Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Trump, eyes on the audience beyond the Senate chamber, bemoaned the schedule in a tweet, saying “looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.”

Said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow: “We’re going to rebut and refute, and we’re going to put on an affirmative case tomorrow.”

Associated Press
Speaking to reporters, Jay Sekulow, a member of the impeachment defense team and a personal lawyer to President Trump, attacks the House managers’ arguments on Friday.

Republicans are defending Trump’s actions as appropriate and are casting the impeachment trial as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in his re-election campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and eventual acquittal is considered likely.

Before that, senators will make a critical decision next week on Democratic demands to hear testimony from top Trump aides, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national-security adviser John Bolton, who refused to appear before the House but who has said he would respond to a Senate request for testimony. It would take four Republican senators to join the Democratic minority, if the Democrats were to vote in a unified manner, to seek witnesses and other evidence, and so far the numbers appear lacking.

“This needs to end,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump confidant.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, Friday’s session opened with a sweeping and impassioned argument from Democrats that Trump’s actions with Ukraine were not unique but part of a pattern of “destructive behavior” now threatening the foundations of American democracy.

Schiff told the senators that Trump has shown repeatedly that he is willing to put his personal political interests above those of the country he is sworn to protect.

The evidence shows, Schiff said, that Trump bucked the advice of his own national-security apparatus to chase “kooky” theories about Ukraine pushed by lawyer Rudy Giuliani, resulting in “one hell of a Russian intelligence coup” that benefited Vladimir Putin at U.S. expense.

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